Key Economic Indicators
MuniTrends provides a wide range of national, state and local economic indicator data that can be useful in analyzing historic and current financial trends and preparation of long-range forecasts.

 Example - National Trends (Also available at state and local level)

[ Adjust scroll at bottom of each chart to modify timeline. ]

Note: Light-gray vertical bands in charts indicate recession.

For the latest up-to-the-minute release of Economic Data, see the Economic Indicator Dashboard at US Census:

State and Local Economic Indicators
MuniTrends provides up-to-date state, regional and local indicators including the following data:
     * Population and Demographics
     * Employment and Jobs
     * Manufacturing and Production
     * Inflation and Price Indices
     * Housing and Real Estate Values
     * State Revenue Trends
     * Retail Sales and Inventories
     * Travel and Tourism
     * Recreational and Other
[Example Graphics Being Updated]


Benchmarking and Performance Metrics

Comparative analysis, or benchmarking, of government services can provide valuable insight into economic and operational norms of department functions and identify best practices underlying superior performance. Benchmarking can also help establish baselines for future performance measurement, identify opportunities for optimal resource allocation, provide additional context for budgeting, and foster greater accountability.

Due to the preponderant weight of personnel costs in most government budgets, comparative analysis focuses heavily on full-time equivalent (FTE) resource levels. For a more meaningful analysis, other factors and cost drivers should also be included. For example, a municipality may have a lower level of public safety FTEs than its peer group, but that same city or county may also have a lower incidence of crime and/or fire emergencies.

A comprehensive benchmark study will also take into consideration other "normalization" factors such as population composition and density, climate, geography, infrastructure, interjurisdictional cooperation, resource constraints, municipal priorities, and local economic factors. Consistency in reporting periods and account definitions is also essential in rendering an "apples-to-apples" comparative analysis.

Inputs, Outputs and Performance Measurement

Analysis of government "inputs" and "outputs" provides a basis for comparative analysis among numerous entities, and is a key measure of government efficiency. "Inputs" refer to the organizational resources deployed to meet functional obligations. Typical inputs include personnel, equipment and facilities. "Outputs" refer to key outcome indicators such as crime and conviction rates, fires suppressed, miles of street repaired, patients discharged, building permits issued, library registrations and so forth, depending on the government function.

Fig. 1: Fire Engine Company Example

The example at left illustrates the relationship between INPUTS (number of fire engine companies deployed per 100,000 residents) and OUTPUTS (% of fires suppressed), based on measurements from 16 municipal fire departments. The regression line (in Red) suggests that fire suppression beyond a 65-70% level is improbable, regardless of the number of deployed engine companies. This example also demonstrates the principle of "diminishing returns."


Key Indicators and Metrics

Examples of statistical ratios and data that can be used to measure outputs and effectiveness of various municipal government services include:


  • Call response time
  • Department clearance rate for open cases
  • Crime index, number and type of crimes reported
  • Number of patrol hours


  • Call response time
  • Ratio fire loss/potential fire loss
  • Resuscitation success rate
  • Number of education programs/participants

Parks and Recreation

  • Acres of available park space
  • Number of facilities
  • Number and type of recreational programs
  • Citizen satisfaction


  • Number of library registrations and visits
  • Fines/bills collected
  • Number of library programs and attendance

Streets and Highways

  • Number of miles of streets serviced
  • Miles of street resurfaced
  • Maintenance/repair costs per mile
  • Response time to emergency repair

Waste Management

  • Number of customers served
  • Tons refuse collected/recycled/disposed
  • Tons per route mile
  • Cost per ton collected

Water and Utilities

  • Number of citizens served
  • Reliability % of water, power delivery and quality
  • Response time to complaints, outages

Fleet Management

  • Daily functionality % of fleet vehicles
  • Maintenance per unit cost, per type
  • Average monthly backlog
  • Miles of use per vehicle

Facilities Management

  • Square footage of available building space
  • Response time for emergency repair
  • % preventive maintenance completed
  • Average no. days to implement routine repair

Mass Transit

  • Annual vehicle miles travelled
  • Revenue vehicle miles travelled
  • % trips on schedule
  • Area coverage, % of housing from stops